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Tanaka lavished with praise prior to debut

Special to MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Prior to his first start at Yankee Stadium, right-hander Masahiro Tanaka received high praise from the opposing manager.

"He has really good stuff," Orioles skipper Buck Showalter said. "He's going to be a challenge. I thought it was the best acquisition of the offseason."

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NEW YORK -- Prior to his first start at Yankee Stadium, right-hander Masahiro Tanaka received high praise from the opposing manager.

"He has really good stuff," Orioles skipper Buck Showalter said. "He's going to be a challenge. I thought it was the best acquisition of the offseason."

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Showalter praised Tanaka, who signed a seven-year, $155 million contract this offseason after being posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan's Pacific League, for his repertoire (which he described as having a similar breakdown and sequencing of pitches as Hiroki Kuroda) and for his age (25) and health.

Showalter said to prepare, the Orioles watched four of Tanaka's starts -- his outing last week in Toronto, one from Spring Training and two from Japan.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was pleased with how Tanaka fared in his Major League debut, in which he allowed three runs (two earned) and struck out eight in seven innings to defeat the Blue Jays; all three runs scored in the first two innings.

"He really seemed to settle down," Girardi said. "I thought he made adjustments, and I think that's important. You have to see what hitters are doing to you."

Girardi noted that Tanaka has fit in well as a good teammate, and when asked whether Tanaka is prepared for the pressure and spotlight of pitching in New York, he said, "It's probably a little too early to tell that. Obviously, he's pitched in big games -- not necessarily here but in his country -- and there's been a lot expected of him and put on his shoulders over there, so I don't think that's something new."

Joe Lemire is a contributor to MLB.com.

 

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka